AoK Vanilla Contest

See the Results

Download All of the Entries Here

On this day, fifteen years ago, Age of Empires II hit the shelves of stores all over the world, quickly making its way into the homes of millions of people. Over the years the game has been an endless source of fun, as well as an outlet for creativity, for everyone who has frequented our forums and Blacksmith. Today it is time to celebrate these fifteen years of greatness. Today we will be going back to our roots, to revisit the era that existed before data editing and extensive modding became commonplace, the era before that odd novelty known as "The Conquerors Expansion": it's time for the AoK Vanilla Contest!

This is a contest in which the challenge is to create a fun single player scenario with the constraints presented by the original game: no mods, no data changes, no Mesoamerican civilizations and no Change Object Name effect; all of which is outweighed by the sheer amount of Janissary top hats!

What type of scenario you create is completely up to you, as long as you follow the basic rules!


• Your entry must be a single player scenario or campaign.

• Your entry must be playable, i.e. not a cut-scene without gameplay. Apart from this you can choose any game style you like: fixed force, build & destroy, puzzle, RPG, etc.

The Conquerors Expansion is not allowed.

• Graphic mods, data editing and the use of third party programs like AoK Trigger Studio are not allowed.

• You can't enter anything already submitted to the Blacksmith, i.e. entries must have been made specifically for this competition.

• The scenario/campaign file you submit should have the extension .scn/.cpn (.scx/.cpx files, which are extensions specific to the expansion pack, won't work as the judges will play all the entries without the expansion)

• The deadline for submissions is November 30th. The deadline may be extended if there are too few entries, but don't count on it!

• When uploading your entry, please submit it to Single Player Scenarios or Campaigns category in the Blacksmith and add "AVC" to the title of your game, i.e. "AVC - Scenario Title". This will help downloaders find your submission and also keep them in kind with other entries to the contest.


If you wish, and are good with keeping deadlines, you can sign up as a judge instead of an entrant! The judging period will be roughly 2-3 weeks, depending on the amount of entries we get. Judges will rate all entries by giving marks (along with a short motivation) in each of the following categories:

Entertainment Value: 0 - 15 points
The judges will rate how much entertainment they got out of the scenario, i.e. simply how much fun it was to play. Anything that can bring down the experience, like lack of a challenge or nonexistant instructions, will be taken into consideration here. Ultimately, though, this is the most subjective category.

Map Design: 0 - 15 points
The judges will rate the look of the map: the use of terrains, elevation, buildings and eye candy, as well as the overall aesthetic look of the map. They will also take into consideration how well the map fits with the gameplay: a well-designed open landscape might work well for an FF or B&D scenario, but perhaps not for a puzzle scenario, and vice versa.

Creativity: 0 - 10 points
The judges will consider the unique characteristics of each entry, as well as how the designer works with the constraints presented by the original game. Creativity can be found in all aspects of a cinematic scenario: in trigger effects, map design, story, soundtrack and so on. The judge will not focus on rating the quality of techniques used, as he would for the other categories, but rather focus on any that are used in a unique manner or show a fresh approach.

Story: 0 - 10 points
The judges will first determine what the designer has intended the story to be. An attempt at a humorous story will then be evaluated on whether the dialogue and writing is actually humorous or witty, a historic story or classical literature adaptation will be evaluated on how the known events are told, and a fictional work will be judged on how good a fiction it is. Judges will also consider whether it was supposed to be a complete or partial story, and not penalise a prologue.

Total: 0 - 50 points


1st place: Blacksmith review by an Official Reviewer + Custom title!
2nd place: Blacksmith review by an Official Reviewer
3rd place: Blacksmith review by an Official Reviewer

If you need inspiration, check out some of these top-notch AoK scenarios and campaigns!

The Quest
The King's Best Men
Tamerlane, Prince of Destruction
The Nexus
The Last Viking Prince
Final Hour